January 6, 2007

RIP: Kathryn Gemme, At Age 112

AP:
Kathryn Gemme, a lifelong Red Sox fan who followed the team since the days of Babe Ruth, has died. She was 112. ...

Gemme attended her first game at Fenway Park at age 18 in 1912 shortly after the ballpark opened and her last game in May 2004 when she was greeted by catcher Jason Varitek and Johnny Pesky.

Team officials brought the 2004 World Series trophy to her 111th birthday party in November 2005.

Before the days of television, Gemme would listen to Red Sox games on the radio and take detailed notes that she would later read back to her husband, Ovella, when he returned home from work.
Gemme was born on November 9, 1894 (that would have made her 17 in 1912, not 18) and was the oldest person in Massachusetts at the time of her death. Sox PR man Marty Ray on bringing the trophy to her:
It was remarkable for us to visit someone who was actually a true testament to what a lifelong Red Sox fan really means, someone who stuck with us the entirety of those 86 years.

13 comments:

Jack Marshall said...

She was amazing! The Sox nearly killed my father in '48-'49, and damn near finished me off in '72, '74, '77 and '78. Kathryn lived through it all, plus '86 and 2003. That's one tough Red Sox fan!

redsock said...

I was too young for 72 and 74, but I don't recall 77 being in the same class as 78, 86 and 03 (not much is). Then again, I was only 13.

I see two serious losing streaks:

9 games in late June/early July (after winnning 7 straight); the slide took them from 5 GA of NY to 1 GB NY.

7 in late August (they were back in first by this time, 3.5 GA, but dropped to 2 GB).

Well, those are bad. (Fucking Zimmer).

They went 22-8 in September (MFY went 19-9, but had gone 22-7 in August), but ended the season tied with Baltimore for 2nd, 2.5 GB.

L-girl said...

The Sox are the best old-lady team. As long as I've been watching baseball, I've seen this steady parade of elderly female Sox fans - diehards who score every game in their own notebooks, know every player on every team, and when they can't get to Fenway anymore, they are glued to their TV sets. NESN is always highlighting them.

I remember during the 2004 ALCS (during the good part) a Fox announcer patronizing one such woman. She was having none of it.

He said something like, "Did you ever think you'd see the Red Sox come this close to winning a World Series?" She brushed him off like a fly. "They've been closer than this! In 1986..." He moved the microphone away, but she was recounting the play-by-play.

I remember they showed her meticulous scorecard - and her great hands - perfectly manicured long nails, fingers loaded with rings. Damn, I'd love to be one of those women one day.

(Of course, they can't put my story on NESN, but that's ok.)

L-girl said...

Hey, Happy New Year to Joy Nation!

Jack, glad to hear you were in my hometown for the holidays. NYC is so great at Christmastime. I hope it was a fun trip.

Jack Marshall said...

It was a fun trip, LG.

Redsock, '77 was awful! The Sox were setting homerun records and crushing everyone in sight. The season turned on two series in New York, and in fact one game I can remember in particular, when Campbell blew a save on June 24 and the Yankees won in 11. That ended the winning streak that could have iced the Yankees and started a sweep by NY and 9 game losing streak that let the Yankees get back in the race. A gapper by Roy White tipped off Yaz' glove as he dived for the ball, if I remember correctly...it would have ended the game in the 9th. That was a 2 game swing right there, and I have always believed that if Yaz catches that damn ball, the Sox would have taken it all. A game of millimeters....a SEASON of millimeters!
The series the Yankees took in the Stadium in September was also a heart-breaker. In the first two games...both of which were pitching duels that the Sox lost late...the Red Sox must have hit 5 or 6 blasts to the old Stadium Death Valley in left...homers almost anywhere else.
ARRRGH!!! I still can see Fisk standing at first and shaking his head when a 400 ft shot was caught by that creep, Mickey Rivers. The Sox outpitched the Yankees in both games but the box score doesn't show it.

And "Fucking Zimmer" is right! No way a competent manager loses 9 in a row with that team.

Great...now I'm going to have those nightmares again....

redsock said...

That woman's name is/was Annie.

I wrote about her here when I rewatched the 2004 post-season in early 2005.

redsock said...

I'm going to assume you typed all that from memory.

one game I can remember in particular, when Campbell blew a save on June 24 and the Yankees won in 11. ... A gapper by Roy White tipped off Yaz' glove as he dived for the ball, if I remember correctly.

Right day, right pitcher, right inning! Soup came in to start the 6th and pitched 5 innings (!). He allowed 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th (however, it was White's 2-run HR that tied it). Ramon Hernandez lost it in the 11th. Don't click here.

The series the Yankees took in the Stadium in September was also a heart-breaker. In the first two games...both of which were pitching duels that the Sox lost late

September 13: Mike Paxton lost to Guidry 4-2 (all scoring done in first 5 innings).

September 14: Figueroa blanked Reggie Cleveland 2-0. MFY got their runs in the bottom of the 9th (Munson singled, Jackson homered).

September 15: Sox won the finale, Tiant besting Torrez 7-3. Sox broke open a 1-1 tie with 6 in the 6th (Doyle hit a 3-run triple).

redsock said...

I heart Retrosheet.

Jack Marshall said...

Yes...all from memory, execpt that I checked the scores and dates in my old Sporting News season digests.
I wasn't sure who hit the key ball that Yaz just missed in the 9th...maybe it was Reggie. Or maybe he just missed catching White's homer. I do know that there was a point in the 9th when I thought the Sox had won, and was so pissed off that I threw a paperweight at the wall (and had to pay for repairs.)
I guess my memories of the Paxton game were warped by the Figueroa shutout, but it was one one of those games where it looked like the Sox would break the game open and never did.

I had forgotten that Campbell pitched 5 innings. Zimmer blew his arm out with games like that.

But give me a break...it was 30 years ago!

Jere said...

My favorite old lady Sox fan was Libby Dooley. Was a season ticket holder from '44 'til she died, which was at least the late nineties. My friend's dad, in the greedy 80s, worked in oil and would get us sweet seats right next to her by the Sox' on-deck circle. Years later, when that same friend--a Yankee fan--was at BC, he went and sat with her late in a game--and, for reasons I still don't understand, gave the woman a ride home!

redsock said...

Was Dooley the one who used to bake cookies for the players for decades?

Jere said...

I really don't know. Sounds like somethin' she'd do...

L-girl said...

I wrote about her here when I rewatched the 2004 post-season in early 2005.

Yes, I remember we were both appalled. I'm glad to know I remembered a detail correctly.